FXI's $199 Cotton Candy is the 'world's smallest computer'

By on March 1, 2012, 7:30 AM

The Raspberry Pi isn't the only finger-sized, snack-flavored computer in town. Heck, it's not even the only one to arrive this week. We're not sure if it's pure coincidence or an attempt to piggyback on the Raspberry Pi's popularity, but FXI Technologies has opened preorders for its "Cotton Candy" system, which occupies about the same space as a USB drive and contains a full-fledged ARM-based computer.

The stick packs a 1.2GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor with a 1GHz quad-core ARM Mali-400 GPU, 1GB of DRAM, and support for up to 64GB of storage with a microSD card slot. Connectivity includes 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, HDMI 3.1 with audio, and USB 2.0 (male). The machine comes preloaded with your choice of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, or Ubuntu.

Although many users express interest in a pocket-sized USB computer, some folks aren't entirely sure what to do with one, so FXI offers a handful of usage scenarios for the Cotton Candy. The device can boost the IQ of your HDMI/USB-equipped display, set-top box or console, granting easy access to an app-rich environment. It can also serve as a private environment when using someone else's PC.

Overview of an engineering sample from November 2011

Like the Raspberry Pi, FXI's system can handle up to 1080p video along with standard media formats, making it a viable HTPC. However, whereas the Raspberry Pi is aimed at DIYers, the Cotton Candy is meant to be a polished commercial product, and FXI is charging as such. Preorders are currently set at $199 (the Raspberry Pi is $25 to $35, depending on the model) and orders will ship in March.




User Comments: 15

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LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

I seriously think I'll be snatching one of these up. Very interested in the actual capabilities of this device. Hope I don't have to wait till the end of the year though.

Guest said:

I've been reading about his. All in all a good looking device with reasonable capabilities but is it worth $200? Bit too much for my pocket on a device like this.

Guest said:

Please forgive my ignorance but what is the point of this device? You need to have it plugged into a usb port for power. Which means you probably have it plugged into a more capable computer. Could some better informed person explain it to me?

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

Please forgive my ignorance but what is the point of this device? You need to have it plugged into a usb port for power. Which means you probably have it plugged into a more capable computer. Could some better informed person explain it to me?

It's basically a tiny encapsulated computer... You would likely want to connect external peripherals anyhow (mouse, keyboard, external hard disk for storage, etc.) so connecting a powered USB hub to provide the juice to run is almost a non-issue. Alternatively, you could use a low-cost AC USB power adapter (common for phone charging and the like) with a cable to power this unit... And some newer TVs have USB ports available for plugging in flash drives or peripherals, which you could also tap for power. Point is, there are more than a few options for using this product without needing a PC nearby.

Guest said:

Cotton candy: light, fluffy, delicious, but totally empty.

Zecias said:

this thing is more powerful than my laptop--- maybe it's time to get a new laptop xD

Guest said:

So could you, for instance, install games such as sims 3 and run it from there instead of taking up space on your desktop?

yRaz yRaz said:

In the video they show it connected to some type of AC adapter and connected via bluetooth to a keyboard and mouse. I wouldn't consider carrying around a power cable for this anymore unusual than carrying one for a laptop.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

yRaz, I'm pretty sure it can be powered via USB 2.0 (i.e. when you attach the device to your PC or TV via USB 2.0). Connecting via Bluetooth or HDMI requires a separate power source. That was my understanding after reading the product page yesterday.

yRaz yRaz said:

Matthew said:

I'm pretty sure it can be powered via USB 2.0

I should have been more clear, I was commenting on how they had it set up in the video. It was powered by USB through an AC adapter. Regardless, you can't have this plugged into both a USB port and HDMI port at the same time without some type of extension. I'm sure that's where some peoples confusion came from... How many people do you think watched the video?

Guest said:

can install a media player with all the required codec to the tv 's USB to play all the video formats...

Guest said:

I am interested too, but I will wait to read the reviews on Ars Technica before I commit that kind of cash to something I can loose between the sofa cushions. :-)

Guest said:

seems like an exercise in technology rather than something actually useful...although I think I said that about the ipad too.... :)

Guest said:

hmmn...

cellophane wrapper please.

nice give away.

but first got to run to nearest lotto station ^v^

Guest said:

I don't think Sims or most MS Windows games will run on Arm chips.

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